Nitrocellulose in nail polish – how does that fit with conscious beauty?
For us conscious beauty means considering both ourselves and our environment. That's why we have been working on 100% natural nail colours since day one. Even though we strive for it every day, such a formula isn't yet possible. Just like almost all other solvent-based nail polishes, our plant-based nail colours also contain nitrocellulose. We explain below how this ingredient fits into our philosophy.
Nitrocellulose is often criticised and is considered to be a potentially harmful substance. And it's important to us not only to be transparent about the ingredients we use but also to make them easier to understand. That's why we're explaining here what nitrocellulose is, what it's all about and why nitrocellulose isn't really a deal breaker for gitti or for your health.
What is nitrocellulose?
Nitrocellulose is the film-forming polymer responsible for binding all the components of a nail colour together. When applied, nitrocellulose thus significantly increases the durability of nail colours. Our nitrocellulose is obtained from cellulose or plant fibres.
Why do our plant-based nail colours contain nitrocellulose when our water-based ones don't?
Through our innovation of water-based, vegan and odor-neutral nail colours we have been able to completely rethink nail polish and cosmetics. Our unique formula is based on 55% water, is odor-neutral and completely without nitrocellulose. It's the hardliner among clean nail colours and quite rightly has a loyal fan base. It lasts up to three days and is the perfect companion for a fast-paced lifestyle. But to be completely transparent, when it comes to durability, a clean water-based formula simply can't keep up with conventional nail polishes (yet!).
By popular demand we have put together an alternative formula that lasts longer. The result is our plant-based formula.
This way we can offer you the best compromise between the most natural ingredients and intense colour durability, as our plant-based nail colours are 82% plant-based. To guarantee this extra durability, we need to use nitrocellulose at the moment.
In comparison with conventional nail polishes, which contain approx. 22% nitrocellulose, we have been able to reduce the quantity by around a half – our nail colours contain only 11% nitrocellulose.
gitti’s solution: naturally based nitrocellulose
We want to replace as many artificial ingredients with plant-based alternatives as possible. That's why, when it comes to nitrocellulose, we use the plant-based option.
Our nitrocellulose is obtained from cellulose, or plant fibres, more specifically, nitrated cotton fibres that create compounds of chemical bonds (esters). Nitrocellulose that has been obtained from cotton fibres has a great advantage over the artificial alternative – its environmental footprint.
Much fewer CO2 emissions are produced in the sustainable manufacture of this natural alternative than in the production of synthetic nitrocellulose, and in doing so we are able to make a positive contribution to both the planet and our environment.
How can we be sure that nitrocellulose isn't a deal breaker for gitti: Inhibitors and innovative production techniques.
First things first: By itself nitrocellulose is a safe ingredient. Critically, however, in the production of pigmented cosmetics, nitrocellulose is often combined with stearalkonium bentonite to ensure the best solubility and an even distribution of colour pigments.
The reaction of these two elements can lead to the production of nitrosamines, and it's these nitrosamines that are suspected of potentially causing cancer - not nitrocellulose itself. At gitti we prevent this reaction by using the safe, plant-based inhibitor tocopherol. This prevents the development of nitrosamines during the production and bottling of our nail colours.
We also produce our nail colours in cool conditions, as nitrosamines can occur more easily at higher temperatures. This is a truly innovative technique and a solution we are extremely proud of!
Nerdy details - what nitrosamines are all about.
Nitrosamines are organic substances found in many cosmetics and food (e.g. meat, fish and dried spices) among other things. They can even be formed in the body during digestion. Nitrosamines have been examined and tested for many years.
The EU cosmetic regulation (EU NO. 1223/2009) limits nitrosamines in cosmetic goods to minimal levels. As described above, our formulas have been developed in such a way that the production of nitrosamines is either reduced or completely prevented. Also, there have not yet been any concrete findings as to whether nitrosamines are significantly more concerning in nail polish than in other products in which they can also be found.
As nail polish is not ingested, the risk is believed to be small. And in addition to EU regulations for cosmetics, which of course we adhere to, we are pleased to be able to offer you a safe product. On our journey towards creating a 100% natural formula, we will return to this question again and again, so that we may always offer you the most innovative solution possible.
What are negative CodeCheck reviews all about?
CodeCheck.info is a useful advice service, especially when it comes to living a more conscious lifestyle. The review system does however fall down when it comes to nitrocellulose as an ingredient, ranking it as orange or of significant concern. There are many reasons for this: it does not distinguish between natural and synthetic alternatives. CodeCheck also doesn't take the concentration of a particular ingredient in a product into account either. That means, that for the review, it makes no difference whether the product contains 100% or only 0.1% or less of the potentially harmful ingredient. It also does not take into consideration how the product is used. Some ingredients are highly concerning when consumed orally, but much less so when not ingested. Just as we are constantly working on improving our formulas, CodeCheck is also continuously working on optimising its review system.